This is one of the most important elections in our history. Bird-Dogging the alternative, progressive Government as a political strategy is a dog act. It risks punishing us with another term of conservative rule. Pushing a single issue agenda with the aim to suffocate the message of the Australian Labor Party is dangerous, classist, selfish idiocy. This is not good for the less privileged.
Bird-Dogging is the political activist form of heckling. The intent of Bird-Dogging is to absolutely suffocate the message of the politician or party holding the event. Bird-Dogging is covert and coordinated. The idea is to get as many people as possible, sympathetic to your cause. The aim is to hijack a politician or a candidate speaking to the media or hijack a party event.
The idea is to covertly plant as many activists as possible in attendance at an event and push to ask as many questions as possible or make as many statements as possible about the activist issue. Activists achieve success if the politician spends a lot of time answering activists’ questions. This means the Bird-Dogging activists have suffocated the candidate’s message. They have drawn all the attention to the Bird-Dogger’s message.
It has come to light that Labor is the target. Greens aligned groups, such as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Stop Adani will participate in Bird-Dogging. They are not targeting the Liberals or One Nation. Their aim is to attack Labor using Bird-Dogging.
There is even a detailed Bird-Dogging Labor guide. This outlines the questions, responses and behaviour for Greens-aligned activists to attack Labor. (More on the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines later).
I witnessed Bird-Dogging in person from the Greens last year, before I knew what Bird-Dogging was. This was at a Labor held Banking Inquiry Information session event, held by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh.
The behaviour of the Greens in attendance that night was verbally aggressive, demanding the floor and interrupting questions and answers. For example, they would scream out that the Labor Party has destroyed Industrial Relations. Flailing about yelling how the Greens were “The Original Unionists”. (I know right *rolls eyes).
The Greens’ demanded attention to ask questions. When answering, they wasted time making very long winded statements about the Adani mine, other Greens driven issues, or taking credit for things Labor had done over the last 100 years. It was seriously bizarre.
Many people that night did not get to ask a question on a serious issue, because of the Greens Bird-Dogging strategy. Many in attendance were most likely very concerned about being ripped off by Banks – or had been ripped off by banks. Andrew Leigh did stay after the event and spoke to people one to one, but the benefit of the entire room hearing the question and the answer was lost. Some, may not have had the self-efficacy to go up to a politician and ask a question or may have thought they were a bother. That is not good for our democracy.
The night ended up with a couple of men having to intervene when one of the Greens men was arguing inches away from a woman union delegate’s face screaming about how terrible Labor is. It was very upsetting and I started shaking, even watching it.
Last week, I came across the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 Guidelines posted on Twitter. The person who posted the guide appears to be involved in various activism groups. However, they obviously think that this particular tactic targeting Labor is dangerous and stupid, considering we have had five years of conservative rule and the country is going down the toilet.
Activists received the Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 guidelines at a Stop Adani meeting in Brisbane. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition developed the guide. These guidelines detail questions and responses and behaviour towards Labor Politicians and candidates, working hard to try to win seats off the LNP in Queensland.
We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging! (Bird-Dogging Labor Guidelines AYCC).
The AYCC and Stop Adani intend to do everything they can to suffocate Labor’s key messages for this crucial election campaign. The ONLY other result if Labor does not win, is another term of the Liberal-National Coalition Government. These groups campaign for the Greens.
This campaign strategy is a slap in the face to the workers and the disadvantaged who deserve to have the courtesy of hearing about crucial progressive policy which will affect them. Not just affect them, but there are some policies Labor will be discussing, that will literally change people’s lives. This is a slap in the face to the working class, by a very privileged hand.
However, the AYCC states in their guidelines, that Labor (as detailed by Tony Burke) has a valid point in why Labor can’t stop Adani.
“Why is this our ask?
Labor actually has a valid point when they say they can’t commit to stopping Adani for legal reasons. This is because if Labor gets into government and then stops Adani by revoking their approval to build the mine (having committed to stopping it prior to the election), Adani could
then sue the Labor Govt claiming that a genuine review did not happen and therefore it was wrongfully revoked. Therefore, while we are still pushing them to Stop Adani, the specific ask (for bird dogging, MP meetings and conversations) is for them to commit to reviewing Adani’s approval and act.” (Bird Dogging Labor Guidelines – AYCC)
The AYCC state in their document that:
“This document is created in reference to the principal objects of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition as stated in the constitution (p.3).”
The Bird-Dogging Labor 2019 – Messages and Response Guide details:
“We can predict what some of Labor’s responses will be to bird-dogging and want to be prepared with factual & sassy answers ready to go! The way this is written is to have a few responses to predictable answers so we can keep MPs or candidates on point & answering our questions when we go bird-dogging!”
The guidelines detail answers as well as suggested behaviour. Some examples are below:
“Our position is clear” + “we’re committed to Adani not receiving any public money”
(sassy) Which position is that?
So in the above example, not only do the guidelines state what to say, but the behaviour to deliver it. Which is to be Sassy – which is defined as “Rude with no Respect”. This shows that they are not interested in a serious answer, but their own ‘show’.
“Why aren’t you going after the Government?”
If you want to be the next Government, you need to be serious about climate action which means stopping Adani. When will you commit to a review of Adani’s approval?
So in the example above, Stop Adani, Greens members (and possibly candidates or politicians) and the AYCC who will all be active “Bird-Doggers” already agree that Labor is being truthful that there are legal implications of why they cannot stop Adani. However, their excuse for not attacking the Liberal Party, or One Nation, is that the Labor Party wants to be the next Government. Well, heads up purists wreckers! The Liberal Party and One Nation also want to be the next Government too!
According to this failed logic of these dangerous ideological purists, it is best to attack and suffocate the message of the Progressive Labor Party, than to hold the Liberal, National and One Nation Parties to account. It is also best to do their very best to derail the Labor Party’s campaign, so Labor does not get heard and do not win the election, when Labor is the Party most likely to work with and not against Greens Groups.
“We’re not in the business of ripping up contracts”
Vomit on them***
In the example above, the AYCC is instructing Bird-Doggers to what? Vomit on the Labor politician or candidate? Disgraceful behaviour aside, once again, the contradiction is that the AYCC has already accepted and detailed in the guidelines. They agree that Labor has a valid point regarding legal implications with regards to Stopping Adani. Bird-Doggers agree that Labor is reasonable here. However, vomiting on the candidate is the solution?
Is Richard DiNatale going to accept campaign assistance from Stop Adani and the AYCC, when this type of abhorrent behaviour is a suggested behaviour towards candidates or politicians in the Labor Party? Maybe he could file it in his “To Do List” right under, “Do something about sexism and misogyny in the Greens”
When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him
(if they require shaming for inaction) Is your personal political ambition is more important than a safe climate future for young Australians?
When Bill Shorten tries to run away- yell this at him
(if they get angry/unreasonable with you) All I’m asking for is for you to review Adani’s environmental approval.
I find this suggestion quite bizarre. Its almost as if these Greens groups only read the Greens Newsletter and swallow whole every low-base Bandt Rant about how awful Bill Shorten is. They appear to have absolutely no idea about the politician that they are planning to attack.
I think readers will agree with me that Shorten does not run away from questions. He has hosted 75 town halls across Australia. Bill Shorten fields many questions from the general public. He always asks the media if they have any other questions. The only time we see Bill Shorten running is long distance running, because well…..it’s basically his sport!
They also appear very confused about who is who. Bill Shorten does not display anger or unreasonable behaviour. That is Richard DiNatale when confronted about the sexist behaviour towards women by men in the Greens and asked what will he do about it. Sorry, my bad. That’s not right, the behaviour from Richard is more passive and indifferent on that issue. But the Liberals and Nationals and PHON, the parties who are exempt from Bird-Dogging…well they have lots of angry and unreasonable people.
This election is one of the most important elections in our history. There are absolutely critical Industrial Relations reforms that need a Labor Government so they become an actual reality. Only a Labor Government can change the rules and give workers back, fairness, safety, protection and dignity.
These Greens groups will respond and say how innocent, cute and sassy, Bird-Dogging is and it isn’t aggressive at all. However, I have witnessed Bird-Dogging first hand. The rest of the country has witnessed Greens groups crashing Labor events en-masse. They are far from protesting respectfully.
Attacking the Proles while the Bourgeoisie are literally pushing people to suicide through Robo-Debt and literally pushing workers to their deaths with the ABCC, is a privileged, classist attack on the working class.
As Daniel Andrews (SMH 2012) said:
According to the Greens, everyone must compromise except them. They would rather protect their ideals than search for the common ground that might just protect the most vulnerable. Even with the purest of motives, a refusal to bend while launching endless criticism at those who are prepared to work for real outcomes is arrogant and self-indulgent.
With all the debate this week about who is more dangerous, PHON or the Greens, the question should be for whom? I think we can all agree that a party that pushes a racist and divisive agenda such as One Nation is an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.
However, if the purism of the Greens and their associated activist groups, are successful in their aims to suffocate the message of Labor on every issue and the only issue people hear about is about a mine that has not been able to start for six years and signed off by the LNP Newman Government; then there is a very good chance the consequence will be that Labor will not win Government. Another consequence could be an increased presence of Liberals, Nationals, PHON and other right wing Independents in the chamber.
I think we can all agree that the behaviour of Greens purists, which may result in the return of the worst Government and worst Prime Minister in our history, plus a few extra nutters like PHON winning seats, through “Greens-aligned Groups’ successful activism against Labor” is also an insidious, cancerous parasite in our social fabric.
WA voters! Lend me your ears! Ask yourself this: “Do I want to be a disruptor? OR Do I want to disrupt the disruption?” You are in a game. Today, you need to decide which role you play.
There is absolutely no doubt we are in the middle of a game. A game fuelled on by the media and populist politics. A game played to see just how many people don’t really care about politics. They are asking you today when you vote (and the media are testing you on this) “How much do you actually care about Western Australia?”
The media have played this game for a while now. It’s a fun game for the media. Because this game fuels suspicion and a divide amongst us all. It sees politicians scrambling. This agenda is a game to see how the politicians respond to this disruption. For those who feel like a star and are “having your voice heard for the first time.” Well in this game you are the pawn, not the King.
Why this is a game of disruption is that forever there has only been two sides to choosing our votes in this country and it is the way it will always be. The Liberal/National Conservative anti-worker parties versus the Laborist Pro work at parties. Work or the inability to work for whatever reason is central to everything we do.
The struggle between these two sides is endless. How much power and autonomy do the conservatives try to take from the workers, the disadvantaged and the poor? What will the worker parties do to protect this? The fight is real. This fight against conservatism can be captured in three spheres: welfare, workers and unionism and protest groups.
Other minor parties and independents have always served as one issue parties such as environmentalism, animal justice, gun lobbyists, farming and agriculture or LGBTIQ rights as examples.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party are not true Conservatives. For example, her economic adviser is a totally free market, user pays libertarian. It is very clear after voting for the ABCC, supporting cuts to penalty rates and being very anti union, the Pauline Hanson One Nation party is indeed an anti-worker party. The are certainly not a pro-worker party.
In saying this, Pauline Hanson does not lead a single issue party either. The One Nation party is simply set by an agenda of disruption. To disrupt everything. The good and the bad. They have not thought about how to deal with the ramifications of this.
Both major parties need to take into account all of the single issues the other minor parties advocate for. For example, they respond to environmentalism in a conservative or a progressive way. The extreme of conservatism or progressiveness may differ depending upon the issue.
Pauline Hanson’s agenda is to disrupt every single minor or major issue and to hell with the outcome. To hell with society and to hell with the people of Western Australia. The main objective for Pauline Hanson is power.
Her candidates who have left the party are consistent on this. Pauline is about power for Pauline. Being from Queensland, and following her since the 1990’s when she turned on Indigenous people in my community; hand on my heart, this is very, very true.
The media has actively fuelled this on. They have fuelled on what they label as the ‘Pauline Hanson Phenomenon.” This insinuates, Hanson’s appeal is more widespread than it is, and to give it a cool sounding edge – that it is acceptable to participate in.
However, the media know full well that massive disruption in our economy, in business, for our workers, in the community sector, and in a public services could really truly harm our society and our people irreversibly.
They are actively encouraging voters classed as disruptors to see if this game could become a reality. A real life of real chaos for four years ahead of voters with no rhyme nor reason.
But why? Why would the media do this? What is in for the media is that this generates a lot of stories and a lot of advertising revenue, which equals a lot of profit for them.
Pauline Hanson is disruption personified and everyone who votes for Hanson is considered a disruptor. An army of disruptors. Like the KISS Army, but way, way, way less cool.
At the moment, the media wants you to believe this is cool. However, after buying it and after unpacking it at home, you will soon release it is just a piece of junk. Just like all the adverts in their magazines and newspapers, they position words, meaning and symbols to present what they want you to think is cool. Their game is not fairness and full representation of all voices in politics. It is not democracy. It is sales.
Don’t believe me? Major parties aside: ask yourself this, how many minor parties are there and how many minor parties have been in the spotlight this election?
That’s right! Just one party. The Pauline Hanson One Nation party.
What the media is really pushing when they are pushing you to be this ‘disruptive voter’ is how many voters don’t really care about themselves, their family, friends, the community, their state, and their country? How many people will show they don’t give a stuff about Western Australia, by giving disruption their number one vote. How will this disrupt Federal Politics and Queensland Politics and how many stories are there in this!
In a nutshell the media is asking voters in Western Australia today how much of your state are you prepared to blow up?
To be a disruptor you need to disrupt the media and the populist politics it has embraced. You need to blow this shit up! Don’t blow up Western Australia. You need to choose the alternative, because the media wants this disruption that Hanson brings to become cool. It sells their papers and their advertising. If simply being a minor party was the best for change, they would be shoving the Greens down your throats.
This is vitally important. It is you who needs to live in the aftermath of this this disruption. The media, just like me, will bang on the keyboards long after your decisions today, regardless of the outcome.
Think of it as when alternative music becomes mainstream and it simply isn’t cool anymore. We have all been there. Anarchy in the UK and punk hair became tiresome after a while and we turned to pop synth, Karma Chameleon, ragged clothes and boots (OMG I miss my boots soooo much!).
To be a real disruptor on voting day, you actually need to vote to disrupt the disruption. You need to choose to disrupt the media and disrupt the populist politics of Hanson. Because simply, it is not cool anymore. Don’t give them what they want! You need to blow this shit up! Today!
The only way this can be achieved is very simple. Ask yourself, do you choose the side of the anti-worker Conservative parties or do you choose the side of the pro worker Laborist parties?
Subsets of the major Liberal Conservative parties or the Laborist Workers parties are found in either conservative or progressive minor single issue parties. The key is if you do choose these minor parties first, where do you put your preferences for the major party? Who do you preference to Govern from the major parties? Because one of the major parties will govern after today. That is a fact.
Regardless of whether you achieve this by first preference vote, or via preferences, at the end of today, Colin Barnett’s Liberals or Mark McGowan’s Labor will Govern Western Australia.
The only party that should be last on your ticket is the disruption party and that is the Pauline Hanson One Nation party. Don’t let this fly-in blow up your state. She lives in Queensland and doesn’t give a stuff about us either!
Best of luck with your decisions today and from all the way over here in Central Queensland I wish your state of Western Australia all the best for the next four years.
It is very clear to us now that Malcolm Turnbull knows his place and we should all damn well know ours. Through his attack on Bill Shorten yesterday, he let us all know that only the ‘real’ rich kids get to sit at the table with other ‘real’ rich kids. If you are the poor kid who gets that invitation to go to the cool rich kids party, then you better not show up, cos the rich kids are waiting to slap you down.
In question time yesterday, Labor Leader, Bill Shorten loudly objected to the Turnbull Government’s harsh cuts on families, pensioners and the poor in general. For those who continuously state that Liberal and Labor are the same; please take note of this stark contrast between the two and please press the buzzer and get off this bizarre unicorn led school bus you are riding.
You know, the cuts that mean sausages and mince some nights and peanut on bread the other nights.
Cuts that mean that even if your kid is a bloody star and you are so proud of them, they have to just miss out, because you can no longer afford footy fees or singing lessons.
The cuts that mean pensioners cannot afford to keep cool or keep warm because it is a choice between meager amounts of food or electricity.
Cuts from an uncaring Government who are threatening jail to disability pensioners, whilst their leader smiles as he protects the big banks and big companies.
Liberals always tout their very loud support for the low paid casualised labour, abolition of penalty rates and high childcare fees. This means that most families need to rely on family payments to simply make ends meet. Yet Turnbull decides it might be fun to cut that too.
The Liberals very vocal advocacy of making it really super easy to sack people, like their mate John Howard did, forces many families to work for next to nothing. They never rise up, stay complacent, never complain. This means a dream of a fair days work for a fair days pay is just a dream. Full time work is not even in the scope of reality. Yet Turnbull decides to cut the one thing that makes up the gap for these struggling families: Family Payment.
Shorten had enough so he rightly attacked the Government and stood up and spoke up for every single parent, child and even the family dog that these cuts hurt. Shorten insisted that these pensioners and families, to please sir, have some more.
Just like in Oliver Twist, when he asked “Please Sir, Can I have some more?” Turnbull, just like the big fat custodian of the workhouse, bellowed at the orphaned worker “Moooorreeee?”
Turnbull yesterday moved through classic literature in one very angry rant. Moving from the Workhouse boss in Oliver Twist and then transforming into Flashman from Tom Brown’s School Days. Shouting at Shorten, “How dare you, you poor person sit with the rich kids!” While Flashy’s mates stood around him smugly laughing.
It is a wonder Turnbull didn’t yell at Shorten:
“You’ll be fagging for me by the end of term, BOY!”
As Rhys Muldoon summed it up yesterday:
Morphing yet again, we have Barnaby this time, in the background, Turnbull’s main Droogie from A Clockwork Orange, who has made his way to parliament yesterday straight from the Korova Milk Bar where he overdosed on some horrorshow Moloko.
(If you don’t understand any of these examples, I suggest you lobby the Liberal Government to start re-funding the Arts).
So there we have it. Turnbull destroyed the Liberal Party ideology in one big fat childish rant. The Liberal ideology that tells people who “If you work hard enough, you will make it.”
The way they always tell us that “Everyone is born equal and it is up to you to be all the way up here with us! You can do it. We did!”
The sniveling privileged born to rule ideology that insists that if you haven’t made it, it is all your fault and you should be ashamed.
The stigmatising and derogatory ideology that points to anyone on welfare as a criminal and a cheat. That is while the Liberals sit there and destroy the economy so there are no jobs to be had!
The main point of Turnbull’s rant yesterday was that even if you do work hard like Bill Shorten and end up earning $400,000 a year, and become the leader of a major party, you will never, ever, ever be a real rich kid. The rich kids will be here to push you around to remind you just where you have come from.
Turnbull made the very big point that if you start even hanging around with the rich kids, we will make sure we let the other poor kids know, that now you are rich you have lost your values and you are now one of us. You know, the rich kids who hate and ridicule the poor kids.
It speaks volumes that a strict conservative like Cory Bernardi has jumped ship. Conservatives may have twisted values, but one thing they loathe is uncouth clowns like Turnbull who cannot hold it together.
Malcolm Turnbull like all self entitled right wingers do when they are lost and backed into a corner did. He spurted a great big lump of psychological projection. As a poor kid of the 70s and 80s, Turnbull only said two things to me yesterday:
Considering Turnbull is both in abundance, how is it possible that he can Govern for more than one percent of our people? The truth is, he does not.
I will end this article with some more of Shorten’s words to show that it will not matter how many rich people he dines with (even if they did die eight years ago), he has stayed true to his Labor values. This is Shorten on why Labor fights to help people with a disability.
As a poor kid of a Father with a disability, these words mean a lot to me, as it is how Dad used to explain it. “On the invalid pension, you never ever get a chance to get ahead. You are punished until the day you die.” he would say.
This is the alternative Prime Minister telling his story behind his involvement in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
This is a narrative you will never ever hear from the Prime Minister Turnbull, even if he is angry and shouting as loud as he can.
The media are hailing Turnbull a hero for berating the man and attacking the man. They must get super excited over right-wing nut job trolls on Twitter!
That night, the Policy Nerd Shorten smiled through yet another Sales interview on ABC 7.30. Instead of asking more about Shorten’s concerns, Sales tried to excuse Turnbull’s right to have his pointed personal attack on ‘the man.’
The current state of politics as described by the media is:
Angry shouty born to rule elites devoid of policy, just so they can wear a crown and destroy the country?
Policy Nerds who quietly get stuff done in the background. Like say, a national scheme to assist people with a disability. You know, stuff that really matters….
Boring! Bah! Boo!
What Turnbull did yesterday was what every single LNP or nationalist nut job on Twitter does, day in day out. Yells, Screams and personally attacks people because they cannot understand, nor articulate policy. Yesterday, Turnbull was like a real life Twitter Troll come to life. It was incredible to watch.
Heads up to the Media. This is NOT leadership.
Turnbull is right to worry about a stab in the back. He should worry some more. There are literally thousands of idiots on Twitter who do the same ranty personal attack diatribe every day and some are very skilled at it. With Hansonism, every idiot in a clown suit thinks they can now be Prime Minister.
The recent election highlighted to me something as a nation we are not talking about. It is also something that our leaders on the left are not talking about, yet they should be.
This election, the right wing of politics supported by the media were successful in creating a divide. This divide is not just about rich versus poor, or big business versus the worker. This divide is about the underlying constructs of the very essence of everything that has underpinned us as a nation since Gough Whitlam broke 23 years of conservative rule – progressive reform achieved through the power of democratic socialism.
This divide is about how we are choosing to see ourselves as a society – or if we see ourselves instead as segments of individuals and not as a society at all. This divide is now markedly between Liberalism, Libertarianism and conservatism and right wing populism which is underpinned by the Individualism of the right versus the more collective Socialism, Environmentalism and Democratic Socialism of the left.
I say this is markedly because not only have the Liberals returned to power, but also we have seen the rise of more minor parties and Independents who espouse Individualism as their central tenet win more and more seats.
In addition, we have seen the media promote (including paid promotion) and encourage the voices of those who espouse Individualism and interrupt (up to more than 30 times in a half hour segment) to suppress those who espouse democratic socialism. The interest in individualism and breaking the two party system is also reflected as a central theme in comments across various social media platforms, including newspaper forums.
I see the rise of individualism in Australia in two distinct areas. The first is the decision-making process and democratic representation to develop and pass the legislation, which shapes us. The second is individualism as the central tenet of the ideology of the majority of seats in our current parliament.
Decision-making and democratic representation
With regards to parliamentary decision-making and democratic representation, we have seen a rise in discussions about breaking the two party system. An excitement and a peaking of interest in how it is better to see individual voices in parliament trade off for their vote with other individual voices and creating blocs of these voices to pass legislation; rather than the collective decision making process of a major party, based on their collective values and ideology.
The worrying theme about the rise in these discussions is voters who advocate this; do not seem to care what the individual or minor party stands for. As long as they are an Independent, or a minor/micro party, that is what matters. The fact that these people or parties are not a collective or a part of a major party appears to be the most appealing aspect for many voters.
There is a plethora of voices shouting loudly about how we need to destroy the two-party system, but there is only a modicum….no… a complete absence of any argument about why we need to destroy a system that has delivered us many successful reforms over many years. The focus is that the two-party system is a failure, whilst ignoring the successes.
As a supporter of Labor, I am not even going to talk about the extensive list of successful Labor Party reforms that have shaped our country under the two-party system. Instead, I am going to use as an example, the only progressive reform the Liberals have ever had in my lifetime – Gun Reform.
When pockets of the nation are excited about the fact that a person is an Independent, or a micro party, rather than how these people or parties may vote on an important issue such as freedom of gun ownership laws, it is a concern. These anti-two party system voters appear to have a care factor of zero about the values or ideology, which will underpin decision making on this matter.
Do we risk ice-fuelled junkies running through the streets playing real life Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in the name of individual freedom?
Is Individual freedom more important than the protection of the rest of society?
Is ideology that insignificant and major parties so abhorrent that we take this risk with a protest vote? A protest vote in which many participants cannot articulate what they are actually protesting about?
Within the two-party system, the major parties have a particular ideology and party platform that underpins them. This platform, informs voters about how their values align with many, many areas of policy. The challenge for major parties is to actively promote their central values – their ideology which underpins how as a collective they will make decisions.
To be fair, Labor did push this extensively during the campaign with their 100 positive policies, however, I feel this was significantly absent during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years. The Liberals in my view failed spectacularly in this area with their 2013 pamphlet, which was upgraded to a plan for a plan in 2016.
Could this be attributed to Labor’s failure to win the election, but success in the number of seats won? Could this be attributed to the Liberal’s success in winning the election, but failure in number of seats lost?
Is ambiguity now so 2013? To restore true belief in the major parties’ platforms, the major parties must wear their values on their sleeves and promote their liberal/conservative agenda or their democratic socialist one, or in the case of the minor/major Greens party – get back to pushing environmental reform. The parties need to set their agenda to purely focus on attracting true believers to their causes.
There is a growing tide of people desiring the annihilation of the collective structures that underpin the decision making of a party platform and the two-party system. These people argue that bringing forth a sporadic cacophony of decision-makers is a more ‘democratic’ option. The people who advocate this appear to have no interest on how these individuals or parties will vote on issues, which are not a part of their single issue-focused or populist agenda.
Paul Keating is remembered and revered for his wit and quips. However, I truly believe he was able to be outstanding during his time, as both major parties were at true odds with each other in terms of ideology and Keating was able to harness this as a true battle of ideas between left and right.
I also believe that Shorten is definitely on the right path with his latest reforms more left of the spectrum than the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years and he is also wearing democratic socialism on his sleeve. Time will tell where he goes with this.
If Turnbull is threatened by the rise of the Independents and minor parties – he must do the same. However, this will mean he will need to admit what he actually does believe in. This will be his greatest challenge yet.
With a sparodic cacophony of decision-makers, confusion will continue to reign until values and ideology once again trump populism (no pun intended).
Individualism as a central tenet and the risk to progressive reform
Individualism permeating as a result of seats won, is also a testament to the rise of Individualism in Australia. Individualism is a central tenet of Liberalism, liberal-conservativism, libertarianism, neo-conservatism and right wing populism and even to an extent, the populist-centrists that are currently making up the majority of parliamentarians and senators as the result of the democratic vote that was cast at our recent election.
The successful reforms of the two party system, are all underpinned by collectivism/socialism and utilitarianism. That is where the greater needs of society, the protection and security of society, the moral good of society as the outcome, outweighs the desires or freedoms of the individual.
With the rise of individualism, there is a risk of all of our existing progressive reforms being weakened or even destroyed. The underpinning construct of individualism is that everyone is born equal and everyone has the same opportunities in life. Essentially, your life is what you make of it. Your individual rights are more important than the needs of society as a whole; even if this means to the detriment of large groups of people in society (ie no taxes to pay for another person’s health care, but rather a user pays system).
This is why the Liberal party see going without any Newstart payments for six months as an incentive and not a punishment. They see the individual as inherently lazy. They use this to stigmatise the individual, to cut payments even further, or to push an even more punitive agenda on the unemployed.
They do not see it that as a Government, they have failed to provide enough employment for everyone. They believe that the free market will just sort it out and everyone has the same opportunity to ‘make a go of it.’ We saw this with Turnbull’s push for everyone to aspire to be an innovative entrepreneur rather than a common worker. If you can’t get a job – just go and create an App you lazy bastard!
Individualists and free-marketeers such as Turnbull do not value the security, protection and harmony that collective or socialist welfare measures bring the nation as a whole. Instead, they see it as the dragging down of society, where the haves need to prop up the have-nots.
Individualism values the freedom of the individual over the harmony and security of a group as a whole. The danger of this ideology, is it has the power to destroy the very fabric of everything that has shaped our society over a long period of time and everything we are still yet trying to achieve.
Our awards and collective bargaining system, our superannuation system, our right to welfare (although needs huge improvements!) the NDIS, Gonski and even national infrastructure such as the NBN to name a few.
We saw individualism peak at its boldest during the Howard years. With its ugly head raised under Work Choices, workers had no choices. Funding for Universities were tied to the abolishment of collective agreements and Howard tried his hardest to use his authority to force Individual agreements on employees in this sector.
Individualism with its ugly head raised, allowed any worker to be sacked for any reason, with no recourse. Individualism with its ugly head raised allowed the more highly ranked workers adept and confident to bargain for a decent individual wage, with unskilled workers with low self-effacy in individual wage bargaining, left with the scraps and told to take it or leave it. Most employees had protection measures stripped, annual leave loading abolished, penalty rates removed and gazetted public holidays removed and some had every single protection measure removed.
For those who want to fight against a rise of Individualism and its ugly head being raised again, the question is “How do we as a collective create a more powerful message that individualism is damaging to our society, before many who are advocating the return of individualism learn the hard way how ugly it really is, along with a second bout for the rest of us?”
The agenda setting of the media makes pushing this narrative even harder. We should also note the power of the media, including the National Broadcaster, in setting an agenda to undermine our nation’s socialist based health care system. They used their innate power by reiterating and reinforcing the political terminology of the right “Mediscare.”
The right used Mediscare, to divert voters away from their intention to weaken and destroy Medicare as a classic Joh Bjelke Petersen “Don’t you worry about that” moment.
The power of the media in this instance was used to reinforce the notion of Individualism and that it is not important for us to stand together as a collective and fight to ensure that all Australians have access to healthcare. In fact, many respected and powerful journalists actually tittered and giggled when communicating to voters the word “Mediscare.” Because you know, socialist healthcare and people being more vulnerable to late diagnosis and death is a bit of a joke.
I hope if a young person does not have the money to access health care and is diagnosed with cervical cancer too late; these journalists will have the decency to wipe the smirk off their faces, when reporting on such stories that will occur now in our future.
Narrative shapes society and I am definitely not a fan of the narrative I see playing out, at this present point in time. When narrative is put to music, it turns into songs and lyrics. I see the election and the post election music as a mash-up of these two songs.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong (I’m an Individual)
And I’ll be your friend (You can’t fool me)
I’ll help you carry on (an Indi-bloody-vidual)
For it won’t be long (You can’t fool me)
‘Til I’m gonna need (A genuine original)
Somebody to lean on (You can’t fool me)
The question is, if both songs were on your playlist – which one would you turn up?